Earlier this month, the National Association of State Energy Officials hosted its 2015 Winter Energy Outlook Conference, where an official from the U.S. Energy Information Administration unveiled its projected fuel costs for the winter.
The association is a Virginia-based nonprofit organization for energy officials and serves as a resource for state energy offices.
People who heat their homes with oil are projected to save 25 percent from last winter and those who use propane are expected to save 18 percent, Howard Gruenspecht, the deputy administrator at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, said at the conference.
Homeowners using natural gas are expected to save 10 percent and those with electric heat are expected to save three percent, Gruenspecht said.
Two factors that play a role in the savings are the drop in price for fuel and a winter that’s predicted to be warmer east of the Rocky Mountains than last based on a winter forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to Gruenspecht.
The drop in oil prices is explained by supply and demand, according to a New York Times article from last week.
Over the past six years, domestic oil production has nearly doubled, which forced out some foreign oil, the article says. Plus, Europe and developing countries’ economies are weakening, and vehicles are becoming more efficient, which drops demand, according to the article.
The price for heating oil from Cheshire Oil Company in Keene is about $2.20 per gallon. At this point last year, the price was between $3.35 and $3.49, according to owner James Robertson.
Swanzey Oil is charging $1.99 per gallon for heating oil, which is down from when it was between $2.99 and $3.10 last year, said owner Lisa Patnode.
“I think it’s definitely helped the customers,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot more people getting oil sooner. Filling up their tanks rather than sticking with the 100-gallon minimum. They’re tending to put more oil in their tanks because it is less of an expense for them.”
Patnode said she’s also heard from customers that they’re choosing to burn more oil this year because it’s cheaper than other heating sources. She also said her customer base has grown with the falling prices.
“We’ve definitely had a very good influx of customers, which is very nice to see,” she said.